August 27, 2009

Negative campaign mailing        $500

Attorney’s fees                                 $0  (paid by legal defense fund)

Community service                         20 hours raking leaves on

pleasant autumn days

Donation to homeless shelter     $300

Record expunged

Jack and cronies at disposition hearing asking for the death penalty.

Repeated exposure on front page of Butler Fascist Times

Jack’s failure to get me fired

Judge intelligent enough to not require restitution

Jack not being county commissioner


You’ll hear from me in the spring of 2011


An Open Letter to President Obama

August 20, 2009

Dear Mr. President:

As a strong (financial and volunteer) supporter of yours throughout the primary and general election periods in 2008, I feel compelled to convey my profound disappointment in your job performance to date. Like many progressives, who constitute your primary source of support, I supported you for one simple reason: I honestly believed (and continue to believe despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary) that you had the best chance to be the next FDR. Your performance to date, however, indicates to me that you are really blowing your opportunity. I don’t know whether it’s just your nature to attempt to achieve bipartisanship at all costs, if you are more concerned with your preservation of a majority regardless of its effectiveness, or if your primary concern is your re-election in four years. Whatever your motivation, if you don’t change course soon, you risk the failure of your presidency.

The most urgent area in which you are quite frankly failing is in health care reform. Senator Obama once quite clearly stated that he was in favor of a single-payer system. Candidate Obama once quite clearly stated that he favored a health care system in which universal coverage is the end result. President Obama, in an effort to compromise with those who will never support his agenda and satisfy those that will never vote for him, has consistently shifted positions, presumably in a genuine effort to build a consensus behind his agenda. Unfortunately, it seems that this strategy is, at this point in time, a colossal failure. I share your indignation at the innumerable lies being promoted by the right, including but not limited to your intention of establishing a socialized medicine system and establishing government death panels. Unfortunately, I believe that you must take at least some of the responsibility by virtue of the fact that your apparent waffling has made you an easy target.

As a physician, I see each and every day unfortunate Americans who are at best bankrupted and at worst suffer permanent injury or death because of the lack of health care coverage. In what we like to refer to as “The greatest country in the world” it is unconscionable that Millions of Americans lack what should a basic human right, and may continue to lack this right for the foreseeable future. In spite of this crisis of epic proportion, you have allowed the argument to be concentrated on peripheral issues, largely ignoring the core problem: 50 million Americans without access to a healthcare system that is as good as any on earth. Over the past week, I was appalled to hear you refer to the public option as “A sliver of health care reform.” You and I know that without a robust public option, there is no meaningful health care reform. Over the course of the past few years, you have evolved from the greatest agent of change in America to just another politician.

Unfortunately, the shortcomings of your administration are not limited to health care. Millions voted for you over Hillary Clinton because of your opposition to foolish wars while she refused to admit that she made a mistake in supporting a war based on the lies of George Bush. Seven months into your first term, there is no end in site to the occupation of Iraq and you have doubled down on our other unwinnable war in Afghanistan.
The one bright spot was your bail out of GM and Chrysler, saving millions of jobs and, despite considerable resistance from the right, changing leadership at GM. The bank bailout is more of a mixed bag. There is room for disagreement regarding the bailout of those institutions that were “Too large to fail.” However, when the taxpayers bail out the very companies that caused the financial melt down of our system, it seems that a temporary government takeover would have prevented the outrageous bonuses paid to these failed managers while ensuring a reasonable return on investment if and when these entities returned to profitability.

Regardless of your performance in your first term, I am sure you realize that there is a very real chance that you will be a one term president. I don’t believe that your re-election will be determined as much by your performance as the state of the economy in three short years. The presence of more than one moron showing up at a presidential event toting a loaded assault weapon points to the direction of social mood in this country; a mood that will undoubtedly deteriorate further before improving. At the same time, the economy is likely headed for rougher times, and may not improve in time to save your presidency. Faced with this scenario, I sincerely hope that you capitalize on the opportunity that you have been given, and govern as if there is no tomorrow.

I believe I speak for the great majority of the 69 million people that put you in office when I implore you to remember those of us who gave you this opportunity. I understand that you are the president of all people, but you were elected by an impressive margin as an agent of change. While many of us are justifiably disappointed by your performance to date, I believe that many of us still support you and believe that you will ultimately be that agent of change that we elected. History reveals that FDR himself was initially dragged kicking and screaming into the new deal; in spite of resistance to deficit spending and support for social programs that largely eliminated poverty in this country for decades, he eventually changed our society for the better permanently. I hope that you will follow his lead, and be the president we elected.

Fed inspector general: I don’t know where the 2 trillion dollars went!

May 6, 2009

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Boehner Doesn’t Know Difference Between Human Breath and Cow Farts

April 20, 2009


How do you argue with a guy that elicits absolutely no intelligence.  I think the above clip says more than I can.   This is unfortunately the extent of many people’s knowledge of the most ominous threat we face as a planet.  It would be quite humorous if not so pathetic.  Ifany Republicans happen to be reading, Cows fart methane, not carbon dioxide.

I Don’t Care Who You are, This is Funny!

April 10, 2009


and if you like that one:

Santorum vs. The United States

April 10, 2009

Writing this post gives me great pleasure.  A short three years ago, U.S. Senator Rick “Man-on-dog” Santorum was spewing his fascist, hateful rhetoric from a prominent podium in the chambers of the U.S. Senate.  Two years later, after a monumental defeat in the 2006 election, Santorum is relegated to writing comedy for the Philadelphia
Inquirer.  His editorial post yesterday,

shows that two years of reflection haven’t resulted in an appreciable awakening to the realities of the world in which Santorum physically (although obviously not intellectually) exists.  Santorum’s editorial, entitled “The Elephant in the Room: Obama vs. United States,” would be more aptly entitled “Obama vs. My (Rick’s) United States.”  He starts by predictably taking an Obama comment (appropriate as the comment may be) out of context and contending that Obama apologized for American arrogance and has an antipathy toward American values.  In reality, Obama accurately addressed both American and European arrogance and destructive attitudes, pointed out that we are, in fact, allies, and called for greater understanding and cooperation.  Rick calls that Un-American, I (and the new majority) call it diplomacy and realism. 


Rick went on to assert that Obama’s appointment for top lawyer in the State Department, former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh, “constitutes further evidence of his disdain for American values.”  Koh, who according to Santorum has
admitted to being a transnationalist, looks beyond national interests to the mutual interests of all nations  in
a smoothly functioning international legal regime.  To Rick, that constitutes surrendering national sovereignty.  Predictably, at that point (and likely long before that point) Rick quit thinking with his pea-sized brain and started thinking with his gut (he must have been constipated, because what came out after that point was clearly brown and smelly).  He extrapolated Koh’s “transnationalist” views of international law to purely domestic law, contending that Koh would promote redefinition of cruel and unusual punishment, gay marriage, and abortion.  This seems to be a little bit of a stretch; just what the hell does the State Department have to do with gay marriage and abortion.  In Rick’s small mind, all roads lead to gay marriage (and abortion).


So why does writing this post give me such pleasure?   Because a short three years ago, Santorum’s views of America were sadly relevant.  Our country had been hijacked by a group that believed that in all issues the concerns the ruling class of a country of 300 million people superseded the concerns of a world of 6 billion people.  Today, the majority has elected leaders
that, while not for one second would consider surrendering American sovereignty, understand that we don’t live in a vacuum.  The majority has elected leaders that are not arrogant, leaders that understand good ideas are universal, sometimes even originating beyond our borders.  We have elected leaders that don’t equate every issue to the wedge issues that they consider moral absolutes.  This post gives me pleasure because we no longer live in Santorum’s America.  We no longer live in the America where the corporate class is successful in disguising their true agenda of  concentration of wealth, disdain for work, and essentially enslavement of the masses by bringing to the forefront social issues that are often accepted at face value by the exploited. 

On the other hand, we only deposed this America by a comfortable but precariously narrow margin.  These morons are still waiting in the wings, ready to capitalize on fear and xenophobic tendencies of a small but crucial voting bloc that may serve to sweep them back into power.  We must remain vigilant, call them on their absurd views, and take advantage of our present majority to advance an agenda that will change society for the better for the foreseeable future.

We cannot depend on our elected leaders to do this; we must continue to pressure these officials to do what we elected them to do, make it clear that we elected them, not their conservative constituents.  We must make it clear that we have their backs when they vote for progressive causes like universal single-payer health care and the employee free choice act, and that they will be brought to task when they carry water for Wall Street, the insurance industry, and big Pharma.

Just as importantly, we must be vigilant and take irrelevant morons like Rick Santorum to task when they are given  a forum like the editorial page of a major city’s newspaper to spew their hate.  

The Butler Eagle squashes freedom of speech! Time to boycott and stop buying the Eagle.

April 3, 2009

County Fairy Tales

I’d like to say I believe in open, honest government and a independent free press keeping our government in check. If you share that same belief, we have something in common. (If you don’t share that belief we have nothing in common.) I’d now like to give you three examples.

First, I have nothing in common with Ken Bowen on audio tapes of the 2004 pension grab from the Butler County Radio Network can be heard advising the commissioners on the best way to make the grab. Yes, you heard correctly, the press was conspiring on the audio tape with the elected officials to help them with the pension grab.

Second, Karen Kane, a reporter from the Post Gazette, recently got out of her seat after her off-camera media questions and scurried out the door, just as I and Eric Urbanawitz were going to speak about the 2004 pension grab and row office solicitors fleecing the county. What was the big emergency you say? It appeared that the emergency was that she forgot her Girl Scout cookies. Yes, you heard that right; she didn’t give a damn about government corruption or community viewpoints, she was too busy selling cookies to the commissioners’ rather than covering the news and being a watchdog for the taxpayers and not a lapdog for the commissioners. Way to go Karen! Go ahead Karen blame me for telling the truth and not yourself for your dereliction of duty.

Third, Dale Pinkerton and his best friend, Ron Vodenichar, the general manager at the Butler Eagle, always seem to be working together on how to best spin the county news to paint Pinkerton in the best light and deny the public the truth. I believe they’re conspiring together to manipulate the news into Butler County’s own little fairy tale starring Pinky the clown. If it looks like a clown, carries mighty mouse business cards like a clown, and talks like a clown, it is a clown. In our case, it is a corrupt clown.

In the Eagle’s fairy tale, Eric Urbanowitz and Jim Eckstein fail to exist. We never come to the public meetings to expose the government’s corruption because in the Butler Eagle’s Fairy tale we are never there. We are on channel 10 every two weeks, but in their fairy tale, POOF, we disappear!

Next, I held a rally and march on March 28th in support of our senior citizens and the disabled of Butler County. In reality, more than 75 people showed up at 10:00 in the morning and walked from the courthouse to Sunnyview to support a safety net for the poor and disabled in Butler County. In their fairy tale world, there was no march, there are no poor in Butler County, there are no disabled, and there are no seniors that suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. The Butler Eagle pretended the event never happened. In their fairy tale every one is first admitted to the Butler Country Club, then to Sherwood Oaks in Cranberry where they live happily ever after and die in their sleep of a heart attack at 90 years old.

            Our Society in America is one of the richest in the world. You don’t go to church on Sunday and proclaim your belief in Jesus then act like Satan on Monday. Sunnyview has cost the citizens of Butler County $1.50 per person every year over the last ten years to treat our most vulnerable seniors. Like Jesus would have done, let’s continue his mission in Butler County like we’ve done for over 100 years. Please do not cast him away.

Jim Eckstein

Butler Township

April 1, 2009



John Wise III,


I used the prime time Viagra commercials as a guide as to what is morally acceptable in today’s society. You know the one you’re watching with your kids and they tell you what to do if you have an erection lasting longer than four hours?


John, you know very well that if you criticize elected officials about their job performance it is not a personal attack. They are in the public domain and when they are elected they loose their right to anonymity under the law. Thanks for reviewing my article. I’m certainly not going to beg you to take my $350.


You boycotted our 75 person march. During your Save Our Hospital coverage you sent Kelly Garret and a photographer out to cover a protest in front of the old armory when I was the only protester.  I didn’t even call it in, your buddy and Democratic candidate for County Commissioner, Jack Beiler, did. I’m not going to keep paying you to cover the news you should have covered for the community anyway.


You know John, what’s wrong with our local government is you don’t really want to have good, honest, open government. That’s not what you say but that’s what your doing. It’s all about money, power, and control. We’ll see if you can beat down my honesty and integrity over time. Joe Stewart thought that he could beat me too. Time will tell, I’ve got an excellent support group and I’m willing to try 6 more years to reform local government before I throw in the towel. Good luck on your journey.


Jim Eckstein